The SLOW READ is a literary/art project honoring Willa Cather’s novel, “My Ántonia," which celebrates its 100-year publication anniversary this year.
High quality images from the book’s first edition will be projected at participating public sites in Nebraska, Oregon and beyond. The entire novel will be revealed page-by-page starting in late May and ending in August. Three or more page spreads will be available daily for both unsuspecting passersby to stumble upon and Cather devotees to return to and punctuate each day of their summer.
Confirmed public sites for this project so far are: (in Nebraska) Love Library at Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln, Constellation Studios (Lincoln) and the Cather Foundation (Red Cloud). Tentative sites (Nebraska): The White Cube/Haymarket (Lincoln), and the Kearney Public Library (Kearney).
Confirmed sites in Portland, Oregon so far: Oregon College of Art and Craft, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art and The Working Library. Plans are in the works for site hosting at both Multnomah and Washington County public libraries.
Besides being a gorgeous piece of writing, My Ántonia touches on important contemporary issues: immigration, women's rights and land conservation. Lectures and discussions are in the works to illuminate these and other topics in the context of Cather’s novel.
Expenses for the project are tied primarily to the website that controls the daily simulcast and archives the pages after they have been presented. The site also acts as a connecting point to the activities, discussions, exhibitions and lectures organized around the country and the world by Cather institutions, scholars and fans. The website also gives visitors an opportunity to explore the visual work I’ve created in response to My Ántonia in the past 8 years.
The SLOW READ project has been fortunate to receive funding from the Oregon Arts Commission, the Oregon Community Foundation and the Regional Arts and Culture Council. These grants represent a little over half the funds needed to create this project.
Kickstarter funds will be used to:
- complete all parts of the website
- purchase equipment for a few of the sites that cannot afford their own
- support the travel to Portland of Cather scholar and Executive Director of the Cather Foundation Ashley Olson to lecture on topics related to the novel
- purchase a digital projector to use for ‘pop up’ showings of The SLOW READ as I drive across the Midwest this summer.
Through this Kickstarter campaign, help me complete The SLOW READ and allow Cather’s beautiful novel to find a wider audience. My Ántonia is an important meditation on topics that are still as pertinent today as they were 100 years ago. Through this public art project we can generate a sense of community in the presence of this novel. With your support the conversation can extend beyond the page.
Visit www.slowread.com starting May 30th to access the project and all the related materials which is playable on any internet-connected device.
Risks and challenges
With the SLOW READ, I am working outside my comfort zone of the analog (artist book publication and installation projects). This project requires sophisticated digital technology to organize the website to display each day's content.
The success of this project is dependent on the good will and generosity of my various site hosts. I am keeping fingers crossed that they can locate the equipment and personnel needed to keep The SLOW READ functioning each day of the summer.
There is a community of technical experts here in Portland from which I can go to for support. Further resources from Cather scholars and organizations have been offered, and I am working hard to match these with my needs. I feel buoyed by everyone I connect with through this project.
At the very least, The Slow Read will run in Cather's home town of Red Cloud, Nebraska.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (34 days)